End of the year banquets come and go…awards are doled out to last season’s honorees…yesterday’s college stars are now in search of the Calder Cup, and in rare cases like Chris Kreider, the Stanley Cup..recruits are deciding upon their future path- whether it be through one of the junior circuits like the USHL or a direct route to Hockey East. The off season is fully upon us and HEA programs from top to bottom are in the midst of shaping up their rosters for the 2012-2013 season.
As is the case in college hoops, the top echelon programs like the Kentucky’s and Kansas’s of the world experience the annual tumult as their prized ‘one and done’ recruits are gone in an instant. Although college hockey is not as transient as its basketball kin, the fact is that the top programs like BC and BU do experience higher turnover as their elite players are tempted annually by lucrative entry level pro contracts.
BC has made it explicitly clear to the rest of HEA, that the Eagles program doesn’t rebuild, they simply reload. It is always interesting to see the behind the scenes recruiting battles take shape as the 10 members of HEA all mold their programs and tweak their rosters for the upcoming season.
How much recruiting money is in the coffers? How is this money allocated? What positions are open on the respective rosters? The answers to all these questions comes to fruition early in the offseason as recruiting directors and head coaches finalize their rosters and solidify their future. Each program is allotted 18 full scholarships yet each team typically carries 22-26 players which makes the shuffling and allocation of scholarship money somewhat of an art form.
It can’t be denied that the BU Terriers had arguably the most tumultuous season that HEA has ever seen in 2011-2012. Corey Trivino and Max Nicastro were jettisoned from the program for their much maligned legal troubles and Charlie Coyle left his Agganis Arena home for the QMJHL. The Terriers also lost some depth at forward and a stalwart netminder in Kieran Milan who all move on after their senior seasons – a rarity nowadays.
Kevin Dillon of the Daily Free Press provides a straight and narrow breakdown of the moving parts at BU and offers his insights on exactly how BU will fill all of these holes. As Dillon points out, Parker fully expected to lose Trivino, Coyle and Nicastro to the pro ranks at the conclusion of the 2011-2012 season. As a result, the Terriers recruited replacements for all three players for the upcoming 2012 season.
With both netminders graduating, BU will welcome in 2 freshmen who will be tasked with replacing Kierna Millan and Grant Rollheiser. Kevin Dillon (Daily Free Press) offered the following information on BU’s new 2012 goaltenders:
“Incoming freshmen Matthew O’Connor and Sean Maguire will battle for the starting job next season for the Terriers. O’Connor is coming off of a season in which he recorded a 3.04 goals against average and a .902 save percentage in 50 games with the Youngstown Phantoms of the United States Hockey League. Maguire posted a .913 save percentage and a 2.33 goals against average in 31 games with the Powell River Kings of the British Columbia Hockey League last season and is ranked the No. 28 North American goalie in the NHL Draft Central Scouting rankings.”
BU’s strength next season will clearly be their defensive corps as the Terriers only have 1 slot to fill on the back end. Escobedo, Clendening and Noonan all return on the blueline and will be a welcome sight in front of the inexperienced O’Connor or Maguire in net. Up front BU is somewhat depleted beyond Wade Megan and Matt Nieto as the Terriers will face the unenviable task of relying on freshman forwards to contribute up front right away. If any of you Terrier fans are following the IIHF U-18 Tournament, you surely are aware of the outstanding performance of Terrier Recruit ’12 F Matt Lane who helped lead the US squad to the gold medal that culminated in a 7-0 shellacking of Team Sweden in the finals. If anyone can step right in and contribute next year, Matt Lane certainly has the skillset to do so. That said, any team that must rely on freshman forwards and a pair of freshman netminders has clearly put itself in somewhat of a precarious situation. How will BU respond next year? …time will tell.
BU’s recruiting depth in 2012 is quite remarkable but many experts point to the blue chip 2013 class that features the likes of Brendan Collier (Malden Catholic) and Sam Kurker (St. John’s Prep) as ‘THE’ premier recruiting class. And speaking of Kurker, there has been whisperings of Kurker’s intentions of suiting up in HEA next season straight out of St John’s ala Colin Blackwell (St John’s Prep – Harvard)…maybe Blackwell had somewhat of an influence given his success at Harvard last year, who knows? Because BU does not have a scholarship available next season, Kurker could end up elsewhere if he truly wants to lace em up for the upcoming season..The Husky Hockey Blog makes a legitimate case for NU being that team…will be interesting watching this scenario evolve in the next few months.
The Husky Hockey Blog posted it’s Off Season News and Notes on the trials and tribulations of the Northeastern program. Ironically, former BU Terrier and National Title winner, Vinny Saponari will wear the C on Huntington Avenue next season. The Huskies also witnessed extensive turnover this off season and just this week lost another key defenseman in Luke Eibler after saying goodbye to Anthony Bitetto earlier in the offseason (signed with the Nashville Predators). Like, BU, Northeastern will be adding some prolific talent off of the IIHF U-18 roster. F- Cam Darcy will be a prized recruit for the Huskies and will undoubtedly be thrown into the cauldron and will be counted on as a key forward next year.
The BC Hockey Blog took a fresh look at the potential roster for 2012as the Eagles look to repeat as national Champs in 2012. Although BC lost a considerable part of its core with
Kreider, Cross and Dumoulin all turning pro, the Eagles still have a plethora of talented forwards to rely on next season. When you look at the potential roster and take into account the elite recruiting class BC will welcome to the Heights, it’s tough to pick against BC again next season. Keep an eye out for freshman recruit ’12 Frank Vatrano who College Hockey Prospective profiled and listed as #42 on its list of top NHL Draft College Prospects. God bless Jerry York…what a program.
The Beanpot Forum will take a look at the potential rosters of the other HEA teams in the upcoming weeks as teams release their schedules and add some recruiting depth to their programs. THERE IS NO OFFSEASON!
As a sort of footnote, the BF continues to have the luxury of being a monthly contributor and regular columnist on the College Hockey Prospective web site. For those of you who haven’t read my article on Doug Carr (Lowell) earlier this month, please give it a read.